For our readers in California, bring this handy guide with you to the polls.
Prop 19: When Worlds Collide. NO. If this simply allowed people to cultivate and smoke marijuana themselves and left the rest of us alone, it would be worth considering. But it goes much further and provides that “no person shall be … discriminated against or denied any right or privilege” for pot use, inviting a lawsuit every time an employer tries to require a drug test, for example. If you want to smoke pot in your own world, I don’t care. But don’t bring it into mine.
Prop 20: Congressional Redistricting. YES. This finishes the work we began in 2008 to get redistricting decisions away from self-interested state legislators and into the hands of a bi-partisan commission. The original reform omitted Congressional districts – this simply adds them.
Prop 21: Highway Robbery. NO. Right now, state park users pay a nominal fee that helps pay for upkeep, assuring that those who use our state parks help pay for them. This measure ends the day-user fee and shifts the cost to the rest of us by imposing an $18 per car tax increase whether we use the parks or not. Stealing money from highway travelers used to be called “highway robbery.” Now it’s called “Proposition 21.”
Prop 22: Hands Off Our Money. YES. This takes a giant leap toward restoring local government independence and protecting our transportation taxes by prohibiting state raids on local and transportation funds. Local governments are hardly paragons of virtue, but local tax revenues should remain local.
Prop 23: Liberation from the Environmental Left. YES. In 2006, Sacramento’s rocket-scientists enacted AB 32, imposing draconian restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions (yes, that’s the stuff you exhale). They promised to save the planet from “global warming” and open a cornucopia of new jobs. Since then, California’s unemployment rate has shot far beyond the national unemployment rate and the earth has continued to warm and cool as it has for billions of years. Prop 23 merely holds the Environmental Left to its promise: it suspends AB 32 until unemployment stabilizes at or below its pre-AB 32 level.
Prop 24: Because Taxes Just Aren’t High Enough. NO. This is a predictable entry by the public employee unions to impose an additional $1.7 billion tax on businesses. The problem, of course, is that businesses don’t pay business taxes – we do. Business taxes can only be paid in three ways: by us as consumers (through higher prices), by us as employees (through lower wages) and by us as investors (through lower earnings on our 401(k)’s).
Prop 25: Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire. NO. This changes the 2/3 vote requirement for the state budget to a simple majority – a reform I have long supported. Experience has shown that the current 2/3 vote requirement for the budget does not restrain spending and it utterly blurs accountability. But such a reform MUST repair the 2/3 vote requirement for all tax increases and restore constitutional spending and borrowing limits. Without these provisions, Prop. 25 would be a disaster for taxpayers and a recipe for bankruptcy.
Prop 26: Calling a Tax a Tax. YES. Under the infamous Sinclair Paint decision, virtually any tax may be increased by majority vote as long as it is called a “fee,” gutting the 2/3 vote requirement in the state constitution to raise taxes. Prop. 26 rescinds Sinclair Paint, restores the Constitution, and calls a tax a tax.
Prop 27: OMG. NO. Want to go back to the days when politicians drew their own district lines, literally choosing their own voters? This will get us there.